'There are five more angels in heaven': heartbreaking farewell to fire victims
Three hearses took the five coffins of the victims of last week's tragic fire in Clondalkin to their burial amid scenes of unspeakable grief.
As they pulled up at St Anne's Church in Shankill, Dublin, yesterday the scale of the tragedy became too much to bear for many of the mourners.
In the first hearse were Annemarie O'Brien, her daughter Paris (2) and, in a separate tiny white coffin, her unborn son AJ.
The second and third hearses brought the white caskets of Jordan (4) and Holly (3), whose mother Biddy O'Brien is still critically ill in hospital.
Jordan and Holly's dad Jamie, gently clasping a pink rose, hugged the caskets before they were brought into the church.
Annemarie's partner Sean Patel helped carry her coffin into the church.
Fr John O'Connor, of St Anne's parish in Shankill, conducted the Mass, which was concelebrated by Fr Paul O'Driscoll, who represents members of the Travelling community.
During his homily, Fr O'Connor made reference to the fact the families have suffered similar tragedies in the past, including the Carrickmines fire that claimed 10 lives 17 months ago, and a separate fire that killed Annemarie's brother Andy in 2011.
"For you as a family this is not the first cross that the Lord has asked you to carry. You have been called on a number of occasions to share in the sufferings of Christ," he said.
"We all know that. Pope Francis tells us that God chooses his best soldiers for the toughest battles, and I believe that these words are really applicable to you.
"Without any doubt you are God's toughest soldiers, and you can be sure that you are not alone in the battle of life. Christ himself is always with you and now you have five more angels in heaven to accompany you and help you to bear the cross.
"As Travellers you are also part of a very strong and noble tradition and your culture will stand by you and give you strength and courage in these difficult times. We here in St Anne's also promise that we will accompany and support you, as does the Travelling parish," he said.
"Last evening I spoke with Jamie and he told me how much Jordan and Holly loved their mammy, and how much she loved them.
"Jamie is obviously deeply upset by the deaths of his two beautiful children, but he is happy that they are together with God. They are together, they are not alone, and that is very important for Jamie," Fr O'Connor said.
"And he wants them to know that he will look after their mammy and that they will be happy together.
"Biddy is a very strong and intelligent person, but she now needs the love and support of all of us as never before, and I know that you won't let her down."
President Michael D Higgins was represented by Colonel Michael Kiernan; Dublin Fire Brigade by chief fire officer Pat Fleming; and An Garda Síochána by Chief Supt Gerry Russell and Supt Pat Ward.
Burial took place in Springfield cemetery in Bray, Co Wicklow.